More Information
ISBN: 9781783687787
Imprint: Langham Monographs
Format: Paperback
Dimensions (mm): 229 x 152 x 23
Publication Date: 14/02/2020
Pages: 438
Language: English

Christianity in Central Tanzania

A Story of African Encounters and Initiatives in Ugogo and Ukaguru, 1876–1933


In the telling of the history of the Church Missionary Society (CMS) in Tanzania, the initiatives, contributions, and experiences of indigenous teachers have too often been neglected in favour of stories of sacrifices of Western missionaries. Bishop Mwita Akiri redresses this bias by using a socio-historical approach, written from an Afro-centric tradition, to evaluate the contributions and experiences of indigenous agents in the growth of Christianity in Tanzania. This book underscores the significance of oral tradition in African historiography and challenges the claim that foreign missionaries succeeded in destroying African cultures, when they are in fact alive and well. This much-needed research also provides a model for dialogue between the perspective of Christian missions and that of African religious and social heritage in order to continue forward with a Christianity that is authentic and also distinctly African.

Author Bios

Mwita Akiri

Bishop MWITA AKIRI has a PhD in African Christianity from the University of Edinburgh, UK, and is currently a research professor and visiting lecturer in Mission and African History at Wycliffe College, University of Toronto, Canada. He served as the General Secretary of the Anglican Church of Tanzania for almost ten years, where he played a key role in establishing St John’s University of Tanzania, Dodoma, Tanzania. He went on to be a founder of the Anglican Diocese of Tarime and was consecrated as Bishop of Tarime in 2010. He also acts as an external examiner for Uganda Christian University, Mukono, Uganda.


This long-awaited book by Mwita Akiri is a triumph of interdisciplinary scholarship. Making use of cultural studies, history, ethnography, and sometimes theology, he reaches some important and illuminating conclusions. In his very thorough research, not only has Dr Akiri worked through the manuscript record and historical publications, but he has also interviewed dozens of men and women who participated in this history or had significant knowledge to share. This book has implications far beyond central Tanganyika before 1933, for it can be read as a particularly telling case study of the mutual impact of foreign missions and indigenous cultures worldwide.

Alan L. Hayes, PhD
Bishops Frederick and Heber Wilkinson Professor of the History of Christianity,
Wycliffe College at the University of Toronto, Canada

Africa is, in numerical terms, now the most Christian continent on the globe. But the African church is still wrestling with the question of what it means to be at the same time authentically African and authentically Christian. Mwita Akiri’s valuable in-depth study of the early years of the Anglican Church in Ugogo and Ukaguru (central Tanzania) reveals the problems left by misconceived missionary strategies of Christian education, but also the crucial role played by indigenous Christians – both male teachers and “Bible women” – in the shaping of modern Tanzanian Anglicanism.

Brian Stanley, PhD
Professor of World Christianity,
Director of the Centre for the Study of World Christianity,
University of Edinburgh, UK

In the Church Missionary Society histories of Anglican mission in Tanzania, little space has been given to the initiatives, contributions and experiences of indigenous teachers. Rather the spotlight was cast on the western missionaries who made great sacrifices in service to God.
This socio-historical study seeks to redress that bias in mission historiography. Written from an Afro-centric rather than Western-centric tradition, it sheds much-needed light on the indispensable role of the indigenous agents during the early mission years, 1876–1933.
History is a great teacher and there are strong and abiding lessons to be learned from this study for the ongoing ministry of CMS in Africa.

Rev Canon Peter Rodgers
International Director/CEO,
Church Missionary Society, Australia

Table of Contents

  1. Acknowledgements
  2. Abstract
  3. Abbreviations
  4. Notes on Names and Terminology
  5. Names
  6. Terminology
  7. Chapter 1 Nature of Study, Scope, and Research Methodology
    1. 1.1 Nature of Study
      1. 1.1.1 Purpose
      2. 1.1.2 Relation to Other Studies
      3. 1.1.3 Significance
    2. 1.2 Scope
      1. 1.2.1 Date
      2. 1.2.2 Geographical Area
      3. 1.2.3 Omissions
    3. 1.3 Research Methodology
      1. 1.3.1 Method of Analysis and Presentation
      2. 1.3.2 Methods of Data Collection
    4. 1.4 A Complementary Role of Data Sources
  8. Chapter 2 Gogo and Kaguru Societies in the Late Ninteenth Century
    1. 2.1 Geography of Ugogo and Ukaguru
      1. 2.1.1 The Geography of Ugogo
      2. 2.1.2 The Geography of Ukaguru
    2. 2.2 The Formation of the Gogo and Kaguru Societies
    3. 2.3 Political Organization
      1. 2.3.1 Gogo Political System
      2. 2.3.2 Kaguru Political System
    4. 2.4 Social Structure
      1. 2.4.1 Gogo Social Structure
      2. 2.4.2 Kaguru Social Structure
    5. 2.5 Aspects of Gogo and Kaguru Social Customs
      1. 2.5.1 Circumcision and Puberty Rites
      2. 2.5.2 Marriage
      3. 2.5.3 Dance
    6. 2.6 Aspects of Gogo and Kaguru Religions
      1. 2.6.1 Aspects of Gogo Religion
      2. 2.6.2 Aspects of Kaguru Religion
    7. 2.7 Conclusion
  9. Chapter 3 Christian Developments in Ugogo and Ukaguru 1876–1900
    1. 3.1 King Mutesa of Buganda and Henry Stanley
    2. 3.2 Mpwapwa: A Place of Significance
    3. 3.3 Mpwapwa, Chamuhawi, and Mamboya: The Survivors
      1. 3.3.1 Some Local Challenges to a Christian Cause
      2. 3.3.2 First Baptisms at Mpwapwa and Chamuhawi
      3. 3.3.3 Oral Tradition and Stagnation at Mpwapwa
      4. 3.3.4 Missionary Methods: A Key to Success at Chamuhawi
      5. 3.3.5 The Beginnings at Mamboya
      6. 3.3.6 First Baptisms at Mamboya Hill Church
      7. 3.3.7 Difficulties of Communicating the Christian Message
      8. 3.3.8 The Valley Church and Its First Fruits
      9. 3.3.9 The Dawn of the “Official” German Colonial Administration
    4. 3.4 The End of Self-Preservation and the Birth of an Expansion Era
    5. 3.5 Conclusion
  10. Chapter 4 The Initiatives of the Gogo and Kaguru Chiefs
    1. 4.1 Chiefs as Indigenous Agents
    2. 4.2 Chiefs and the Establishment of Mission Stations
    3. 4.3 Chiefs, Buildings and Literacy Classes
    4. 4.4 Chiefs and German Colonial Education Policy
    5. 4.5 The “Threat” of Islam
    6. 4.6 Standing by the “Fence”: Chiefs and Conversion
    7. 4.7 Conclusion
  11. Chapter 5 Educational Contributions of Indigenous Teachers
    1. 5.1 Literacy Training as a Missionary Method
    2. 5.2 The Out-School as Chief Agencies for Evangelization
    3. 5.3 The Medium of Instruction in the German Colonial Era
    4. 5.4 Teaching Methods at the Out-Schools
      1. 5.4.1 The Cloth Sheet and Ikangambwa
      2. 5.4.2 Traditional and “Modern” Songs
    5. 5.5 Missionary Focus on Children
      1. 5.5.1 Reasons for the Focus
      2. 5.5.2 African Conversion and Motives of Child Converts
    6. 5.6 Competition with Roman Catholic Missions
    7. 5.7 African Conversion and Motives of Adult Converts
      1. 5.7.1 Protection from Cruelty
      2. 5.7.2 Employment Opportunities
      3. 5.7.3 The Influence of Indigenous Teachers over Tax Collectors
    8. 5.8 The Catechetical Process
      1. 5.8.1 Categories of Baptism Candidates
      2. 5.8.2 Duration of Instruction before Baptism
      3. 5.8.3 Public Admission to the Catechumenate Status
      4. 5.8.4 Catechumens and Pre-Christian Past
      5. 5.8.5 The “Policing” of the Baptism Candidates
      6. 5.8.6 The Inadequacy of the Catechesis
      7. 5.8.7 The CMS Mission and Traditional Practices
      8. 5.8.8 Female Circumcision: A Lost Battle?
    9. 5.9 Conclusion
  12. Chapter 6 Missionary Contributions of Indigenous Teachers
    1. 6.1 The Nature of Appointments and Contributions
      1. 6.1.1 The Appointment of the Indigenous Staff
      2. 6.1.2 Indigenous Teachers as Pioneer Missionaries
      3. 6.1.3 Teachers’ Wives as Co-Pioneers
      4. 6.1.4 The Contribution of Bible women
      5. 6.1.5 Indigenous Teachers as Mission Strategists
      6. 6.1.6 Indigenous Teachers as Local Church Leaders
    2. 6.2 Biographical Notes of Some Indigenous Teachers and Missionaries
      1. 6.2.1 Damari Sagatwa: “A Maidservant of God”
      2. 6.2.2 Andrea Mwaka: A Trusted Leader and A Great Pastor
      3. 6.2.3 Danieli Mbogo: Musician and Reliable Companion
      4. 6.2.4 Yohana Malecela: A Rainmaker Turned Pioneer Missionary
      5. 6.2.5 Andrea Lungwa: “One of the Very Best”
      6. 6.2.6 Haruni Mbega: A Man of Principle
      7. 6.2.7 Daudi Muhando: Writer, Preacher, and Pastor
      8. 6.2.8 Yeremia Senyagwa: “A Man With Insight into Scripture”
    3. 6.3 Indigenous Initiatives During the First World War
      1. 6.3.1 Disruption in Ukaguru
      2. 6.3.2 Wartime Indigenous Contributions in Ukaguru
      3. 6.3.3 Disruptions in Ugogo
      4. 6.3.4 Wartime Indigenous Contributions in Ugogo
      5. 6.3.5 Wartime Experiences of the Wives of the Indigenous Teachers
    4. 6.4 Conclusion
  13. Chapter 7 Secularization of Mission Education and Its Impact
    1. 7.1 Background of the Philosophy of Adaptation
      1. 7.1.1 The Phelps Stokes commissions
      2. 7.1.2 British Government Policy on Education in Africa
      3. 7.1.3 Le Zoute Conference and Adaptation
    2. 7.2 British Educational Policy in Tanzania
      1. 7.2.1 Educational Policy 1919–1924
      2. 7.2.2 Educational Policy 1925 Onwards
      3. 7.2.3 A Re-definition of the Role of Out-Schools and Indigenous Teachers
    3. 7.3 Government Educational Policy: Conflicting Responses
      1. 7.3.1 Frustrations of Missions
      2. 7.3.2 Language Debate and Adaptation
      3. 7.3.3 “Eagles Not Chickens”: Aspirations of Indigenous Teachers
      4. 7.3.4 Socioeconomic Benefits for Indigenous Teachers
    4. 7.4 Conclusion
  14. Chapter 8 The Training and Development of Indigenous Teachers
    1. 8.1 In-service Semi-residential Training
      1. 8.1.1 The Nature of Weekly Courses
      2. 8.1.2 Syllabus and Course Contents
      3. 8.1.3 Some Weaknesses of In-service Semi-residential Training
    2. 8.2 Residential Training
      1. 8.2.1 Justification for the Need
      2. 8.2.2 Lack of Resources, CMS Missionaries and Indigenous Spirit
      3. 8.2.3 Obstacles to Overseas Training
      4. 8.2.4 Ecumenical Possibilities
      5. 8.2.5 Kongwa Teachers’ College
    3. 8.3 Women’s Training
    4. 8.4 Ordination as a “Climax” of Leadership Development
      1. 8.4.1 Earliest Prospect of Ordination of Africans
      2. 8.4.2 The Duration of Testing Time
    5. 8.5 A Delayed Ordained Ministry: Some Factors
      1. 8.5.1 Poor Educational Standards among Teachers
      2. 8.5.2 The Threat of Withdrawal
    6. 8.6 A New Era for Indigenous Leadership Development?
    7. 8.7 Conclusion
  15. Chapter 9 General Conclusion
    1. 9.1 Aims of Study and Chapters Revisited
    2. 9.2 Relevance for Mission of the Anglican Church of Tanzania
      1. 9.2.1 Toward a Revised Catechesis and Catechism
      2. 9.2.2 Some Modern Dangers of Post-Mission Christianity
    3. 9.3 Toward a Dialogue with African Traditional Heritage
    4. 9.4 The Study of Christianity in the Non-Western World
      1. 9.4.1 Mission Christianity and African Culture in History
      2. 9.4.2 Use of Archival and Oral Sources
  16. Appendix 1 Dealing with CMS Statistics: Some Problems
  17. Appendix 2 The CMS Mission and the Maji Maji Uprising
  18. Appendix 3 Photographs of Some Indigenous Agents
  19. Appendix 4 Maps
  20. CMS Glossary
  21. Bibliography
  22. Primary Sources
  23. Published Sources
  24. Oral (Personal) Interviews

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